Do your characters drive the story?

This week: 1. Do your characters drive the story? 2. Sneak Preview from The Ice Boat II.

Do your characters drive the story?

I am really enjoying writing my latest novel now (provisionally entitled December Radio) because I have reached the part where the story is writing itself. I no longer have to spend hours thinking about plot. I suppose you could say that I am at the beginning of the final act but it isn’t always this easy. Stories only write themselves – I think – when the characters are so well developed, that they make the decisions for you.

This is how it works: You come up with maybe three or four main characters (probably three if it’s a romance). You have some idea about them and they may possibly be sketched out to fit the climax you want to achieve (no sniggering at the back!). Then as the story progresses you develop the characters more; you see different sides to their natures – strengths, weaknesses and more importantly, they develop relationships with other characters. All this is grist to the mill for a writer and it can be a revelation sometimes. Wow! Would he really do that? Yes he would! Could she really do that? Yes, she could!
If you are really doing this properly, the characters will continue to develop until suddenly you find that you cannot go one way with a plot, only another. because the characters demand it. This can be a bit annoying sometimes when you have to rewrite parts of the main plot but it’s really great when things become more visceral, more real. I often find that the story has a life of its own; more organic and subtle than I could have ever conceived. Does this happen for you? I want to hear from you.

Sneak Preview

The Ice Boat Volume II
Copyright © 2013 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved.

Exciting news! For those who read The Ice Boat Volume I, I am close to finally finishing the manuscript for Volume II. It’s only taken me ten years! The book is largely autobiographical but also a modern odyssey along the line of many old Greek tragedies. Here is a sample:

Driving hard, and not stopping for lunch – although Dave munched some sandwiches Phil had brought while he drove – they reached Magadan – further along the coast – at nearly 10 o’clock.
“We’ll take a day off here, I think!” announced Phil. I have some friends here and you look like you could do with a rest!” He grinned.
They were following the far eastern coast of Siberia, about to drive north beside the Sea of Japan, before heading inland at Gel’Bmezya. This coastline was largely pristine wilderness, often verged by huge mountain ranges. They provided Dave with some awesome vistas as they drove. Fir trees were almost the only trees and they were everywhere.
For now though, they were taking a break in Magadan. The town stood on a south-facing coast which gave some shelter from the bitter winds. Dave left the hotel after sleeping until midday and eating a, mainly fried, dinner. He wanted to take the opportunity to look around.
The town reminded him of a large, sleepy, English holiday resort, complete with red buses struggling up steep roads past building with something like Victorian grandeur, but not quite.

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